‘Choose kindness:’ 11-year-old creates school closet to help students in need

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SHREVE, Ohio (WJW) — At the heart of one Wayne County girl’s mission is kindness. She’s busy providing a new way her classmates in need can get clothing at school for free.

“When you can choose to be anything in the world, choose kindness,” said 11-year-old Andi Musser. “I think being kind is the best trait a person can have.”

Her vision to help others all started when she was just 9 years old and a friend was in need of clothes.

“I got some clothes for her from my closet and I gave them to her like secretly in the bathroom,” Andi said. “She was really happy and so I decided I wanted to do this for the whole school not just one person.”

With support from her parents, Andi pitched the idea to her principal – an idea where students could “shop” in a special closet with free clothing. A place she calls the Kindness Closet.

“The first thing I had to do was get the clothes,” she said. “I went to local businesses and gave them letters and told them what I needed and then we’d see if they drop anything off.”

Even though the shut-downs during COVID threatened the success of the closet, Andi didn’t give up on her dream.

“Find your voice and that’s something we promote here in leadership,” said Shreve Elementary Principal Adam Stein. “We talk to kids all the time about to take a chance, ‘If you fail, fail forward,’ make a change and this is exactly what happened. We had an idea and she ran with it. We got put on hold because of COVID but the idea didn’t die.”

Andi got the donations she needed and then some – more than $1,200 in monetary donations.

Now here Kindness Closet is full of opportunities for students to look and feel their best free of charge.

Andi helps collect and takes inventory mostly on her own, even giving up her recess time to make sure the closet is ready for students.

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